Gold ring from 17th century found by metal detectorist

Robin Potter, 50, found the 400-year-old ring in a farmer's field in Helensburgh.

Gold ring from 17th century found by metal detectorist SWNS via SWNS

A metal detectorist said he cried tears of joy after uncovering a 17th century gold posy ring – which he claims could have been thrown away after a ‘lovers’ tiff’.

Robin Potter, 50, found the 400-year-old ring in a farmer’s field and is now waiting to hear if the rare piece of jewellery will be claimed by the National Museum of Scotland.

Posy rings were given as tokens of love between the 16th and 18th centuries with a short poem inside kept a secret from all but the two lovers.

The name posy derives from the French word for poem, and the ring features an engraving inside which reads: “Gife parted hearts in paine.”

The word ‘hearts’ has been replaced with two overlapping heart symbols.

Keen metal detectorist Mr Potter, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, believes the tiny gold ring could have been discarded after a lovers’ tiff or lost “in the heat of passion”.

He said the gold find makes up for all the “rubbish” he’s found metal detecting the last four years.

Robin Potter, SWNS ring.
Metal detectorist: Robin Potter was ecstatic to find the ring.

The full-time carer said: “When I found it I was so happy I cried.

“It really is a thing of beauty, and it is the first piece of gold that I have found since I started metal detecting around four years ago.

“When you find something like this you go through a range of emotions from shock to pure joy.

“Before detecting any field I check with the owner which field I can detect so I am not disturbing the animals while they are lambing or calving.

“It just happened that that field was empty that day.

“It is tiny with a diameter of 15mm and was either a woman’s or girl’s ring.

“Posy rings were only really given between the 16th and 18th centuries and are more often than not very, very personal with the inner inscription.

“A lot of them are plain on the outside so mine being engraved on the outer with flowers and a criss-crossed pattern with entwined hearts on the ends [is] even more special.

“There are also traces of blue enamel in the criss-cross pattern which again makes it rarer.

“Honestly, it’s impossible to say how it was lost.

“It could have fallen off on a cold day, it could have been thrown after a lovers’ tiff or it could have been lost in the ‘heat of passion’, who knows.

Mr Potter was legally required to report the ring, which he found in June, to the Treasure Trove Scotland, as it’s more than 300-years-old.

It will be returned to Mr Potter if it is not claimed by the museum, and he plans to sell it and split any profits with the landowner of the farm in Helensburgh where he found it.

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